Saturday, October 31, 2009
A couple of weeks ago, I thoroughly demolished the notion that Canadians are coming to the US en masse for health care. Using the same powers of mathematicking, I will today take on the second rail of conservative anti-health care reform: "Like OMG! America has TOTALLY the best health care in the UNIVERSE, bitches!"
This will get really boring and "numbery," so I will state the conclusion up front and then pick up back at the beginning (kinda like "Memento" but without the tattoos)...
I chose a relatively random selection of countries: Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Spain, Sweden, and The United States of America. How did I select these? I scrolled through an alphabetical list and picked places that seem relatively civilized. Then I added Israel because conservatives are completely gay for Israel. Then I added the US because, well, that's the point of this post.
Next, I picked diseases that I could get data on that would be consistently methodologicalized across that spread of countries. I did NOT cherry-pick diseases that cast America in a bad light... in fact, I picked the diseases before I had the data regarding the performance of each country in the category. For all I knew at the time, America would be W00t and the rest of the world would be Suxorz.
Finally, I put the lime in the coconut, spun around three times, and wiped Larry David's piss off of Jesus' chin.
Before we look at diseases on a case-by-case basis, I want to just lob a data grenade toward Sean Hannity, who is convinced that if we have evil socialized medicine in America, then all the doctors are going to quit and become plumbers or cashiers or something like that.
Medical Doctors per 1,000 People
Israel 3.8<------------- First!
United States 2.3<-----------Not first! (nor 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th)
And now for a second auxiliary point... dental care for children. I would posit that a family that does not have regular health insurance is probably not getting routine dental care. For those "slippery slope" folks who think that socialized dental care would be a frivolous act of overt Stalinism, I would point to the causal relationship between gum disease and bacterial induced heart disease. Dental health is an indicator of overall health and early detection of oral health problems prevents extremely expensive cardio-thoracic, emergency care. So, how do we do when it comes to our mouths?
Number of Bad Teeth Per Child
United States 1.19<---------- Not First! (not last, either, so... yay?)
Ok, how about we look at behavior-related diseases. HIV is primarily transmitted through a behavior (sex). So, how do those bad, liberal, socialist countries do compared to us on sexual health, specifically, HIV among 15-49 year olds?
% of 15-49 year olds infected with HIV
United States 0.64<---------- Last again... damnit already!
Ok, so I hear a lot about how the US does better with breast cancer than Canada or England. Too bad Canada and England aren't on my list. Let's see how we do on breast cancer among our sample countries:
Breast Cancer Deaths/100,000 Women
United States 17<---------- 4th place...
Good news is, 4th place gets a ribbon... Bad news is, the ribbon is pink, and it's because your mom's dead of breast cancer.
Let's go downtown to Cervixville:
Cervical Cancer Deaths Per 100,000 Women
United States 1.9<---- Fuck! Tied for second to last place!
In all fairness, though, only 1 in 8 Finnish women actually HAVE a cervix. Little-known fact.
Maybe we'd have more luck 'round back:
Colon Cancer Deaths Per 100,000 Men
United States 13<----------- Tied for SECOND PLACE! I feel like I'm cheering for the slow kid just because he fouled one off! "Good contact Sparky!" While I'm thinking "stick to the drama club."
And with the girl's butts?
Colon Cancer Deaths Per 100,000 Women
United States 9.2<---- we slipped... France AND Finland are kicking our cancer-ridden asses
Ok... Liver cancer. We HAVE to beat Germany and France on this one!
Liver Cancer Deaths per 100,000 Men
United States 4.6<--------- 4th place :-/
Liver Cancer Deaths Per 100,000 Women
United States 1.8<------------- Holy Cirrhosis Batman! Tied for FIRST! It's about damn time.
Alright, let's keep the addiction-related ailments train going! Next up: Lung Cancer
Lung Cancer Deaths per 100,000 Men
United States 44<------ Tied with goddamn France for second to last? Shit.
Lung Cancer Deaths Per 100,000 Women
United States 26<---------- WTF?
Side rant for a moment... In the United States, smoking is an activity that is enjoyed disproportionately by people with lower incomes and lower levels of education. People who are MOST likely to forgo routine health care due to the expense of the care or the inability to obtain insurance. It comes as no surprise that a demographic segment that overindexes in propensity to smoke as well as propensity to NOT have health insurance or receive routine care would show high levels of death resulting from a smoking-related disease.
Alright, back up the ass:
Prostate Cancer Deaths Per 100,000 Men
United States 12<---------- another second place finish! Good contact, Sparky!
We have to find SOMETHING that we are good at... How about... stomach cancer?
Stomach Cancer Deaths Per 100,000 Men
United States 3.4<--------- Suck it, Finland!
Stomach Cancer Deaths Per 100,000 Women
United States 1.7<----------------- in your MOUTH, France!
Not to piss on your gold medal in Special Olympics Bowling... but on average, a woman is 30 times more likely to get breast cancer than stomach cancer. A man is 18 times more likely to get prostate cancer than stomach cancer. The combined male + female likelihood of getting lung cancer is 50 times the male+female liklihood of getting stomach cancer. So, it's kinda like bragging that the US has the fewest number of soccer injuries...
However, if you are an alcoholic woman who doesn't smoke and has had the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine (decreased risk of Cervical Cancer), then there is no country on earth where you'd rather get liver cancer! Except Germany, maybe. Go to Iconoclast, Part Trois Sphere: Related Content